Part 3 of the Beginner Figure Drawing Fundamentals shows how to build individual body parts.

Construction of the Head

  • easy + identifiable


  • gesture line:
    • straight
    • natural center line
  • egg shape
  • eyes line ~ 1/2 height
  • head width ≈ 5 × eyes width
  • bottom of the nose ~ 1/2 between the eyes line and the chin
  • bottom of the mouth ~ 1/2 between the bottom of the nose and the chin
  • distance between nose and chine ~ distance between nose and brow line (???)
  • ears sit between the brow line and the bottom of the nose


  • two masses:
    • face
    • skull
  • possible forms:
    • boxy forms
    • 2 egg shapes
  • ear
    • key landmarks
    • a little back from the center
    • tilts away slightly
  • corner of the head
    • key landmarks
    • ~ 1/3 from the face


  • cylinder like
  • head always leans forward
  • females have slightly longer necks
  • for males, especially muscular ones, the neck can be almost as wide as the head
  • ~ 1/3 head height


  • start with a sphere
  • neck goes into the sphere and flares out on the shoulders
  • add ears

Construction of the Torso

  • bean-shape
  • two separate parts (ovoids)
    • can use cylinders or boxy shapes


  • gesture line: the natural center line
  • male: triangle pointing down
  • female: triangle pointing up
  • ribcage:
    • leans backward
    • males have a larger ribcage than females
  • pelvis
    • females have pelvis larger than ribcage
    • males have pelvis smaller than ribcage
    • leans forward (more for females than for males)
    • boxy shape for males
    • cylinder shape for female (miniskirt)



  • ribcage leans backward
  • pelvis leans forward
  • big stretch on the front
  • big squash on the back
  • neck connects on the back approximately at the eye line
  • a bean-shape might work fine for a profile view

Construction of the Arms

  • not connected to the torso, but a bit away from it
  • approximate with cylinder or boxy shape
  • no center line
  • use the narrower part as guides for gesture
    • draw the cylinder around these guides
  • use egg structures over the basic structure of the arm to define the muscles
  • shortcuts:
    • elbow points up -> arm curve points down
    • elbow points down -> arm curve points up
    • the more we see the elbow, the more of the curve we see

Construction of the Legs

  • we must start with the pelvis area
  • connects between 1/2 and 1/3 from the hip
  • use cylinders that tapper in


  • ‘B’-shape gesture lines
  • the inside of the leg should be slightly curved, too
  • add muscles on top of the basic shape


  • start from the back or, on the front, from 1/2 - 1/3 from the thigh
  • ‘S’-shape gesture lines

Construction of the Feet and Hands

  • treat as one shape at this time, not individual parts (fingers, toes, …) at this stage


  • ankle
    • key landmark
    • inner part is higher than outer part
  • a flatten cylinder going back in space works well


  • start with a triangular shape


  • use a box foundation for the heel



  • palm/back of the hand
    • boxy structure or flattened half cylinder
  • fingers
    • group them, if possible
    • relaxed: fan-shape
    • thumb: opposite direction, at ~ 45 angle
    • middle finger: approximately same length as the palm/back of the hand


  • box shape
  • relaxed:
    • fingers curve down
    • thumb at ~ 45 angle


Once completing the demonstration videos, refer to the attached Reference Image document and start practicing the different ways you can approach constructing the body part. This is merely about exploring what forms and structures work best for you. There is no time limit in this assignment, but it's recommended you spend significant time on drawing the parts. The more time you spend on it, the better you become. A good option is to focus on a different body part for each day of the week. Transcript of the lecture is also attached.

  • Study the reference images in the notes
  • Focus on the individual Body Parts
  • Try different shape and structures
  • Look over Lesson 1 and 2 if you get lost
  • Take as long as you need, no time limit
  • Any question feel free to post in the Community section
  • Practice with previous Timed Drawing Sessions in Lesson 1 and 2
  • Continue with the follow up classes

References from: